RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) – A kangaroo is hopping all over metro Richmond, but for a good cause. This specific type of kangaroo is called a wallaby and while just a baby, she's also a therapy animal.
This four legged baby kangaroo was busy hopping all over the Imperial Plaza retirement community. The therapy pet was brought there by its owner to comfort and spend time with the people that call this place home.
"I love it. I love the people," said kangaroo owner, Carrie Boyd. "I love the joy that it brings them. Some people that just don't smile, they hold her and pet her and they grin ear to ear and they love it."
The kangaroo makes these visits along with Boyd's chinchilla. For the group of seniors, just holding the animals brought back some familiar feelings.
"Like I'm holding my first baby," said kangaroo lover, Cornelia Overton.
Isabel the kangaroo and Boychin the chinchilla are brought to retirement communities and hospitals here in the Richmond area. They're brought to people who would otherwise never get a chance to see such exotic animals.
"There was a boy he was diagnosed with terminal leukemia," said Boyd. "(Isabel) met him, he was in a wheel chair and she hopped right in to his lap. He smiled the whole time and the father came over to me afterwards crying and thanked me and said that was the first time in six months he'd seen his son smile."
"It's wonderful!" said kangaroo lover, Marlys Williams. "When people are sad you know? And you get to see this. It's wonderful!"
Boyd has been bringing her exotic animals to visit people voluntarily for the past 20 years.
"She's just great. I love it," said Boyd. "I didn't want any more kids and this is the next best thing because she does wear diapers, she does wear a dress."
Boyd does it because it's an easy way to put a smile on the faces of so many people. Isabel the kangaroo is only 10 months old and is only expected to grow up to about 2 feet tall. To find out more about her and how to schedule her for a visit, just e-mail Carrie Boyd at firstname.lastname@example.org